Rafael Nadal is on the court for the last Barcelona Open of his career

The Spanish champion is ready to take to the court in a few minutes in Barcelona: a long-awaited come back

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Rafael Nadal is on the court for the last Barcelona Open of his career
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Finally we are here, the most awaited moment of the week has arrived: Rafael Nadal is about to take to the court in these minutes at the ATP 500 in Barcelona, where he is present thanks to a wild card, to play the first round against the Italian Flavio Cobolli.

After several training sessions carried out in recent days, Rafa decided to take part in the tournament in Catalonia, with his physical problems at least partially overcome.

Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024
Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

"It's a last minute decision, because I didn't know if I could play. Tomorrow I'll be on the pitch. I thought: can I or can't I? They've been two difficult years. I'm coming off a major hip operation, which requires a a bit to recover.

Things happen in the body and I couldn't follow the schedule I wanted. When you can't, you can't. At this point in my career I find myself in a different situation. For me, before I regret where I wasn't able to be, I have to think that being in Barcelona is a gift.

I take it as my senior year and I want to enjoy every moment. I feel ready to play. I don't think about how I'm going to get there. I know what the situation is, I'm just preparing myself as best I can. I'm realistic: for me being here is a joy," said Rafa on the media day.

Nadal then confirmed: "I consider this my last participation in the Conde Godò. I don't know what will happen in the future but I will try to give myself the best chance. The week of training was positive and I leave with the hope of doing my best.

I enjoyed training. These moments make up for others that aren't so good. I'm excited to keep playing. I know I'm in a difficult situation, but this is part of the athlete's life."

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Alex Caparros

Among the numerous physical problems that have prevented Rafael Nadal from competing in recent months, the abdominal problem has created many difficulties for him.

The Spanish champion, in particular, was unable to serve with the right force on the ball due to pain. The serve is precisely the shot that causes the greatest concern in view of the ATP 500 in Barcelona.

"I said it in the final in Seville because my uncle Toni made a comment about it. I just said I couldn't play. I also didn't feel like specifying where I had a problem. I find it tiring to talk about my difficulties. On a mental level, these things end up affecting you," said Rafa, also at media day

"I know that the situation could get worse, but I will continue until I feel that it is no longer worth continuing to make certain sacrifices. I don't have an expiration date: life shows you the way. The sensations in training are better and I feel ready to compete.

We'll see what happens. I haven't been able to try the serve many times in training and there is uncertainty, but I have to live with it. I have to see the positive side of things: being able to go back to having fun playing and participating in a tournament is important for me," He explained.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Alex Caparros

Nadal reiterated that this will be the last year of his professional career. And I totally agree with the words shared by the Spanish champion. Rafa said that for him it is a joy and a privilege to be able to play Barcelona and give himself opportunities.

I would add that it is a joy for all tennis fans to be able to see the legendary Spanish champion compete again on the court, his beloved clay courts.

Regardless of how it goes, let's enjoy Rafa to play on a tennis court.

Rafael Nadal Barcelona Open